My generous friend and colleague Miles David Moore has tagged me to participate in the ongoing blog interview for authors, "The Next Big Thing." The interview asks ten questions about the writer's current project; Miles posted his answers at the link on February 4. He asked to me post my answers one week later, which is today. I hope to be tagging at least one other writer this week for a February 18 post.
WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK?
The working title and the final title of my humor collection, to be published on March 1, is Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth. Since the book contains poetry, fiction, song parodies, essays and lists that deal with a wide range of subjects--from fashion to environmental issues and quite a bit in between--I had to find a title that encompassed as much as possible.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK COME FROM?
Ideas came from many places. The day's news provides plenty to work with, as does advertising. The vanities and follies of the world, including my own, have given me a lot to work with.
WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR BOOK FALL UNDER?
Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth seems to fall under general or miscellaneous humor. That said, the tones of the individual pieces vary widely (and wildly). Some are innocently funny, while others are bawdy or biting. One piece even aspires to be a condensed update of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal".
WHICH ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS IN A MOVIE RENDITION?
Quite a few characters appear in the book's stories and other pieces, so it could take me a long time to answer. I can see much of the material brought together in some framing tale starring Bill Murray and, as is the case with pie, there is always room for Gilbert Gottfried. Rights are available, and I am on IMDB.
WHAT IS THE ONE-SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR BOOK?
Man tries to make sense of world, gives up and describes absurdity.
WILL YOUR BOOK BE SELF-PUBLISHED OR REPRESENTED BY AN AGENCY?
The book will be published by Los Angeles start-up Cassowary Press. Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth is the publisher's first title, and I am honored to be placed in that position. No agent represented the manuscript, but I did rely heavily on an attorney as the contract was drawn up. A specialized publicity firm is in the process of getting the word out to print and electronic media.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT?
Writing the individual pieces took place over about fifteen years. Imposing some kind of order on them took about four months.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE THIS BOOK TO WITHIN ITS GENRE?
The variety within Notes of a Tourist on Planet Earth, something like a magazine written entirely by one person, brings to mind One Fell Soup by Roy Blount, Jr.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?
I had to write the pieces in the book to get them out of my head and make them someone else's, whether as a gift or a problem.
WHAT ELSE ABOUT YOUR BOOK MIGHT PIQUE A READER'S INTEREST?
This is the only place to find a funny rendition of a seafood menu in the year 2050. Also, mimes are punched out.